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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow Heritage arrow Mr Busby's claims
Mr Busby's claims PDF Print
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Articles - Heritage
Written by PapersPast, National Library of New Zealand   
Saturday, 17 January 2009

Daily Southern Cross, 24 June 1867, Page 5.

We have been requested to publish the following correspondence, which we do with pleasure :-


To F. D. Fenton, Esq., Chief Judge of the Court of Native Title. Auckland, April 25, 1867-

Sir,— l find that, dating my late absence from the colony, a Crown grant has been issued to certain natives at Ngunguru, for 260 acres of land in that district.

In July, 1859, the native chief first named in the said deed of grant gave evidence before Mr. Commissioner Bell that a deed to which his name was the first attached, and by which the whole of the land on both sides of the river Ngunguru from the sources of that river to the sea was conveyed to me, was genuine; and he and another native chief acknowledged, tbe one his signature, the other his mark to tbat document, the original of which was left in the possession of Mr. Bell. On being asked by me wbether he required further evidence, Mr. Bell stated that it was sufficient; and in a case prepared for submission to the Chief Justice, dated the 13th April, 1860, he further stated th«t, "the evidence of the purchase and of the payment was completed." I have been unable to trace the exact position of the 260 acres for which the grant was issued; but, as I believe the whole of tbe district of Ngunguru, exclusively of two portions previously sold to other Europeans, was all included in my purchase from the natives, I have no doubt that they have received a Crown grant for part of what was proved to be my property. 1 therefore beg to place on record my protest against any further admission of a claim to any part oi the land included in my purchase as proved before Mr. Bell. — I have, &c,

James Busby.


Native Lands Court Office, Auckland, April 27, 1867.

Sir, — I have tbe honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 25th. instant, stating that, during your absence from the colony, a Crown grant had been issued for some land at Ngunguru to certain natives, which land belonged to you, &c. In reply, I have the honour to state that your protest will be filed with the records of this Court; and I beg to suggest for your consideration, whether, if the natives admit jour purchase, it would not be a simple plan for them to pass the land through this Court, and obtain Crown grants, which would enable them to convey to you. — I have, &c,

F. D. FENTON,
Chief Judge.
To James Busby, Esq.


Auckland, April 30, 1867.

Sir,— l beg to express my thanks to you for the kind suggestion contained in your letter of the 27th instant, namely, "Whether if the natives admit my purchase, it would not be a simple plan for them to pass the land through your Court, and obtain Crown grants, which would enable them to convey it to me." Unfortunately, though, the proof of the purchase was completed in July, 1859, Mr. Commissioner Bell neglected to take any steps in the matter till after three years bad elapsed, when he sent a surveyor to the land, at which time one of the chiefs who proved the title was dead. I have not been able to obtain a copy of the Commissioner's instructions to the surveyor, but, judging from the communications of the surveyor to him, it would appear that instead of laying down the boundaries according to the deed proved before the Commissioner, he was to survey whatever land the natives were willing to allow. On his first arrival, the natives repudiated my title altogether; and the surveyor took credit to himself for prevailing upon them, with the aid of the surveying chief, who proved the purchase, and after several weeks of controversy to allow him to survey 1,032 acres. In the application to have the title investigated, which was made in the prescribed form in January, 1841, the extent of the land purchased was estimated at from 40,000 to 50,000 acres. The capital sunk on this land, with accumulated interest, would by this time have amounted to upwards of £30,000. The surveyor reports in one of his letters that there are numerous sawyers squatting upon the land, to whom the natives sell the timber. Indeed this has been going on for the last 18 years, notwithstanding my repeated remonstrances addressed to the Government.

Is it not a strange state of affairs, that while tbe Legislature has done so much to give a title to the natives for millions of acres which cost them nothing, the property which British subjects acquired in a few thousand acres, and on which they have invested their capital, should not only be left without protection, but should, as it were, be set apart by the Government as a legitimate object of plunder!

Is it not a strange state of affairs, that while tbe Legislature has done so much to give a title to the natives for millions of acres which cost them nothing, the property which British subjects acquired in a few thousand acres, and on which they have invested their capital, should not only be left without protection, but should, as it were, be set apart by the Government as a legitimate object of plunder! I fear, sir, that your Court, though it may prevent the natives from acquiring a Crown grant for any more of my property, has not power to prevent the systematic plunder of what constitutes its chief value, or to enable me to take legal possession of what has been proved to belong to me, and which has cost me so much. The whole subject was represented to the General Government about three yean ago, but they declined to interfere. — I have, &c,

James Busby.

To F. D. Fenton, Esq., &c, &c.

P.S. — Since the date of my former letter, I have ascertained that the 260 acres for which the natives have obtained a Crown grant is the land abutting on the harbour, on which my buildings were erected 27 years ago.

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